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You Dirty Chicken Plucker
August 9, 2010 8:09 PM   Subscribe

Howard Bloom: Exercising the Animals in the Brain

Howard Bloom is the author of: "The Lucifer Principle: A Scientific Expedition Into the Forces of History" ("mesmerizing"-The Washington Post), Global Brain: The Evolution of Mass Mind From The Big Bang to the 21st Century ("reassuring and sobering"-The New Yorker), and How I Accidentally Started The Sixties ("a monumental, epic, glorious literary achievement." Timothy Leary).

The Genius of the Beast
posted by nola (25 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Fascinating. I've long suspected something like this.

I wonder if we would see a vast reduction in Tea Party/conservative/fascist activity if all the church-going Red State folk had a little private BDSM time every Saturday night or something. To exercise that domination streak in a safe way, so to speak.
posted by Azazel Fel at 8:18 PM on August 9, 2010


In fact, now that I think about it, I could use a good exercise.
posted by Azazel Fel at 8:20 PM on August 9, 2010


I think evolution has equipped me with a strong desire to argue with brick walls. The sad part is, there are no brick walls in my neighborhood.
posted by nola at 8:25 PM on August 9, 2010


The sad part is, there are no brick walls in my neighborhood.

You do realize that you are posting this on Metafilter?
posted by Azazel Fel at 8:27 PM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


if all the church-going Red State folk had a little private BDSM time every Saturday night or something.

I have heard that dominatrixes are popular among CEOs. After a hard week of walking all over people, ordering them about and generally abusing them, it is apparently relaxing to have the tables turned.

Apart from that, a lot of predators do not pluck feathers.
posted by binturong at 8:30 PM on August 9, 2010


And if we just follow this thought through a step or two, children are imprisoned beasts, on display in cages, and approaching extinction.
posted by clarknova at 8:32 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


You do realize that you are posting this on Metafilter?

Heh
posted by nola at 8:32 PM on August 9, 2010


I have heard that dominatrixes are popular among CEOs. After a hard week of walking all over people, ordering them about and generally abusing them, it is apparently relaxing to have the tables turned.

Except that Tea Party folks are controlled by the CEO's, the rank and file aren't CEO's at all. They're people who are daily fucked over by the profit motive and then told that they've wanted it that way all along. Maybe if they would allow themselves to exercise some control in their fantasies they wouldn't be so keen to dominate gays and women outside the bedroom?
posted by Azazel Fel at 9:00 PM on August 9, 2010 [2 favorites]


Does he always talk to adults like they're 3 year olds? And why does his shirt have his own name embroidered on it?
posted by dobbs at 9:04 PM on August 9, 2010 [9 favorites]


> Except that Tea Party folks are controlled by the CEO's, the rank and file aren't CEO's at all. They're people who are daily fucked over by the profit motive and then told that they've wanted it that way all along. Maybe if they would allow themselves to exercise some control in their fantasies they wouldn't be so keen to dominate gays and women outside the bedroom?

They relieve themselves by knocking down straw men on web forums.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:10 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, wait, wait, WAIT! Alice Cooper has been the cure for violence this whole time?
posted by msali at 9:17 PM on August 9, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wait, wait, wait, WAIT! Alice Cooper has been the cure for violence this whole time?

Don't tell me you were silly enough to think the video games and rock albums were keeping kids off the streets where they were previously committing the violence... or some other equally specious explanation. Bloom's thought it all out, man!
posted by dobbs at 9:20 PM on August 9, 2010


Shit I don't know anything about rock and roll or video games keeping kids off the street I just liked the story about the deep deep need to pluck chickens
posted by nola at 9:22 PM on August 9, 2010


This is absurd. So by this logic if we look at children from cultures that do not have violent video games or Alice Cooper we will find a rise in violent behavior.
posted by quadog at 9:24 PM on August 9, 2010


Don't be silly, they fight bulls when no Cooper or video games are available
posted by nola at 9:27 PM on August 9, 2010


Don't be too quick to dismiss Bloom.
posted by carping demon at 10:24 PM on August 9, 2010


Don't be too quick to accept Bloom.

When someone tells you exactly what you'd like to hear -- whether it's "we are the chosen people" or "violent metal and violent video games are actually very good for you and society" or whatever -- triple check the supposed facts before you jump on the (cheesy Republican metal) bandwagon.
posted by pracowity at 1:22 AM on August 10, 2010


*checks personal grooming*
*orders live chicken*
posted by benzenedream at 1:32 AM on August 10, 2010


I'm surprised at the hostility here to Bloom's ideas. The American children of the 1950s watched wholesome 1950s television, and, a decade later, became the most socially rebellious and criminally violent generation in history. The American children of the 80s on, grew up in a culture saturated with violent and pornographic entertainments beyond anything even imagined in the 1950s, and have grown up to be more compliant and irenic than any generation in the nation's history. The trends are too broad to establish causality, but clear enough to inspire philosophic musings on what Emerson called "the law of equivalence" and the tendency of nature to level gradients and balance extremes. If a CEO needs to have a good whipping at the end of the day in order to balance a personality that has overexercised its command function since morning, it should not be considered hypocritical or as evidence of his moral turpitude, but simply nature's way. Many young men are designed by nature to hunt, fight, and seek excitement and risk, and violent video games fit their needs like keys into locks. If Oscar Wilde were alive today, he might say "The best way to get rid of a temptation is to give into it -- virtually."
posted by Faze at 4:11 AM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


The trends are too broad to establish causality

It should be fairly easy to show one way or the other in more controlled test studies. Unfortunately, no one anywhere has ever thought of studying the effects of violent imagery on children. Don't even waste your time googling for anything like "effects of violent video games on children".

Of course I'm kidding. It has been studied. In fact, it has been repeatedly shown that violent imagery really reduces real violence, which is why parents and schools all around the world are dropping Mozart and adding Manhunt. It really works!
posted by pracowity at 5:09 AM on August 10, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is true. Many people in my neighborhood owe their lives to me watching "Battle Royale".

Over and over and over and over...
posted by Splunge at 5:15 AM on August 10, 2010


My new theory: video games reduce real violence by making gamers too slow, weak, and flabby to cause much trouble in the real world. You just have to watch out for their thumbs.

That's weird. It sounds like there's a pilotless drone circling my house...
posted by pracowity at 5:48 AM on August 10, 2010


I mostly play roguelike games; apparently my DNA isn't getting its full daily intake of capital and lower-case letters from reading books and websites.
posted by sleevener at 7:14 AM on August 10, 2010


I don't trust anyone who wears two watches.
posted by etc. at 12:11 PM on August 10, 2010


Sorry, I read this as "Harold Bloom" as was expecting something else entirely. Not sure what, exactly, but something else.
posted by chavenet at 10:10 AM on August 18, 2010


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